Don’t Be Afraid of The Open

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Oh, you think I’m late? You think I’m referring to the Holidays? False. It’s Open Season! It’s that glorious time of year when we CrossFitters gather around our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, wait with anticipation as the WOD is released, and then marvel at how fast the elite athletes complete it. We make our yearly donation to CrossFit headquarters, sign up, make an athlete profile, and then wonder what in the world we were thinking. Hundreds of thousands of athletes sign up each year, and the tiniest percentage possible actually make it to Regionals. From there, an even tinier amount make it to The Games. But we watch, and participate, and see how we stack up. It’s all in good fun, right? So, why are you so scared to sign up?

We worry about being judged. We worry what our fellow athletes will say. We worry about people watching us. In the gym on a typical day, no one is watching (they are drowning in their own sweat), no one is talking about us, and no one is judging us (we are keeping track of our own reps and our own score). But now it’s official! Right?! Here’s the thing, if you’re doing it correctly and being true to your reps on any given day, The Open isn’t any different. Don’t worry about the judge. They are there to help you, motivate you, and give you a break from counting. If it helps, just call them scorers. Feels a little easier to the ego!

Yes, the workouts are harder. There are no modifications in The Open! If I can’t do something, I’m stuck there. So what! Chest to bar pull ups are my nemesis. I don’t know what it is, but I struggle greatly with them. One year, the second workout in had chest to bar pull ups. There were to be several rounds of overhead squats and chest to bar pull ups. I knocked out my squats, and approached the pull up bar. I had somewhere around ten minutes to complete chest to bar pull ups. I got 4. FOUR. I struggled and pulled and failed and screamed and celebrated. I was mad and elated at the same time. That was the most chest to bar pull ups I had ever done. I was so proud of every single one of those, and when time was called, I was still on that bar, fighting for every rep. I didn’t quit or call it a loss. I kept fighting. It taught me so much about myself, and a weakness I had. Each WOD has a story like that for me, and countless other athletes. Am I ever going to make it to The Games? No. But, I’m a better athlete because of them.

The Open enhances the community of CrossFit more than you can imagine. Right now, you come in the gym every day at your “usual” time and hang out with the “usual” crew and have a good time. There is nothing wrong with that. I love my usual crew. Generally, when you have athletes competing in The Open, there is a different block of time set aside. You come in during that time, with a whole group of athletes, and compete together. It not only allows you to meet new people, but to learn from other athletes, and develop a new bond. Not only do you suffer through daily WODs, but now you’ve survived The Open together. It’s a union that is not quickly forgotten. You get to see how other athletes perform, find out what tricks and tips they have up their sleeves. You get to learn more about how we function as a community and continue that bond of friendship.

So, this year, don’t be afraid. Forget about the judges and the WODs. Forget about the skills you aren’t good at, or how slow you may be. This is about achievement, strength, and community. This is about learning who you are as an athlete and learning from other athletes. This is about fellowship and fun and pushing yourself to limits you didn’t know where possible. So, make a donation to CrossFit headquarters and throw your hat in the ring. You won’t be disappointed.

Amanda Stewart, L1 CrossFit Trainer, contributing writer


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